Govt to construct 100 astro turfs this year — Dr Bawumia
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has announced that the government will, this year, begin the construction of 100 astro turfs across the country.
So far, he said, the government had invested in the construction of about 155 astro turfs aside from the existing three public astro turfs when it came into office for district and local level sports.
Dr Bawumia, who made this known at the 48th edition of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) awards in Accra last Friday, urged players in the sports sector to adopt a modern approach to sports facilities management to ensure that the country maximised the full benefits of the facilities and also maintain the standard of the facilities.
He said leveraging its status as a peaceful and hospitable country, coupled with its beautiful weather as part of the objective of the government to make Ghana a hub of sports tourism and a training centre in West Africa.
He, however, indicated that that could not be achieved “if we do not build more infrastructure and also prioritise the maintenance of sports facilities, including the new ones we are building.”
Making specific reference to the African continent, the Vice-President said, such modern facilities which hosted international competitions ended up as white elephants, mainly as a result of a lack of maintenance and inadequate use of the facilities.
That, he said, should not be the case for Ghana, and charged various sports federations to revive their respective calendars and be more active so that both those at the grass roots and professional levels could make good use of the facilities.
Gary Al Smith of the Multi Media Group was adjudged the SWAG Journalist of the Year.
He received a medal, a memento and an amount of GH¢10,000 donated by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
Comfort Yeboah of Ampem Darkoa Ladies also won the award for the Female Footballer of the Year (Home-based). She also received an amount of GH¢10,000 from Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Other award winners on the night were, Black Stars and West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus who for the second consecutive time won the Sports Personality of the Year and Male Footballer of the Year (Foreign-based).
Jonathan Sowah of Medeama SC and the Black Stars also won the Male Footballer of the Year (Home-based).
Other winners were Priscilla Adubea, Female Footballer of the Year (Foreign-based), Coach Augustine Evans Adotey of Medeama SC, Coach of the Year.
The award for Dedication and Valour included Rev. Emmanuel Nikoi of the Ghana Netball Federation.
The Editor of Graphic Sports, Maurice Quansah, and a Sub Editor of the Daily Graphic, Rosalind Amoh, were also recognised for their long service to SWAG.
Highlighting the rationale behind the commitment of the government to the new sports development agenda, Dr Bawumia explained that on realising there was inadequate sports infrastructure from the national, regional and district levels, the government set out an ambitious programme to invest heavily in providing sports infrastructure across the board.
For the then 10 regions, he said, “we decided to construct a multipurpose sports stadium in each of the regions commencing with phase one in 2018.”
As part of the vision of the government to develop adequate multi-discipline sports infrastructure to aid the development of sports and not just football, he said, the government decided that the country should host the African Games.
He said the decision to host the games was to ensure that the country achieved a generational objective of having world-class facilities for multi-sports disciplines.
The complex, according to Dr Bawumia, also has additional world-class tennis courts, another 1,000 seater dome for more indoor games, a warm-up athletics track and a standard football field.
Furthermore, he said, the government had virtually completed the University of Ghana Stadium, another venue for the games, which he said, had been upgraded to international standards with modern athletic tracks, a standard warm-up athletics track beside the stadium as well as a standard football pitch.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, urged all to use the upcoming African Games to strengthen the bonds of friendship and collaboration across the continent.
The President of SWAG, Kwabena Yeboah, for his part, also paid tribute to the founding fathers of the SWAG Awards and observed that the African Games was not merely a sporting prowess but an unprecedented opportunity for the nation to undergo a transformative experience that extended beyond the realms of sports.
Mr Yeboah, therefore, expressed grave concern about the deplorable state of some sports infrastructure and called for the establishment of robust systems to guarantee the sustainability of the facilities.